In his first visit to the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, in the state's central Mid-West Region, the Premier toured the MRO Control Building, ASKAP antennas, and MWA equipment.
Nobel Laureate and ANU Professor of Physics Brian Schmidt has received a rock star-like welcome in China, presenting to packed university auditoriums and launching the latest Australia-China astronomy collaboration. Following a series of highly successful lectures, Professor Schmidt officially launched the Australia-ChinA ConsortiuM for Astrophysical Research (ACAMAR) on 12 September 2015. Named after a bright star visible from both China and Australia, ACAMAR will see China and Australia further cooperate in areas of astronomy including infrastructure and human capital development.
The Australian Government is boosting our nation's innovation and helping to transform great Australian ideas into great Australian products and services. This includes inventions such as the CSIRO-developed Phased Array Feed receiver - designed for the ASKAP telescope, and now being produced for overseas telescopes. Read Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane's op-ed at The Australian.
3 September 2015
A WA-led innovation has overcome a limitation in above-ground fibre-optic cabling that could save the SKA project millions in costs. University of Western Australia researchers Sascha Schediwy and David Gozzard, tested a new frequency synchronisation system developed at UWA in South Africa in June. The technology was developed as part of the international Signal and Data Transport (SaDT) consortium. This consortium is in charge of developing the signal and data network for the international SKA Project. Read more at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research website.
13 August 2015
The Perth-based International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) has been making headlines in the lead up to the International Astronomy Union General Assembly in Honolulu with two incredible discoveries.
An international team of scientists have discovered super-dense neutron stars which shoot powerful jets of material into space - a feat previously thought to be exclusive to black holes. On a darker tack, ICRAR has used 7 of the world’s most powerful telescopes to look into the future and forecast the impending death of the Universe. Find out more about our slow demise here.
22 July 2015
A thought provoking piece from Karen Andrews, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science.
Mrs Andrews discusses the importance of ‘moon shot thinking’. She specifically points to the invention of Wi-Fi, the mind boggling processing power required of SKA supercomputers, and the value to Australian industry of inspiring the next generation of science, technology, engineering and maths graduates. More at The Guardian.
20 July 2015
A very interesting piece from the Guardian’s editor-in-chief Emily Wilson. Ms Wilson was one of a handful of journalists invited to tour the Australian SKA site. Other invited guests included: experts in the field of radio-astronomy; WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken; and Karen Andrews, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science.
Ms Wilson's article touches on radio quiet in the shire of Murchison and what that means if you’re a radio-astronomer studying radio waves from the dawn of the universe. Supercomputers, data analysis and the awesome complexities of building the SKA - a mega-science project with 10 other countries - are also discussed. More at the Guardian.
17 July 2015
Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science, Karen Andrews, paid a visit to Australia's SKA site this week. Mrs Andrews was joined by WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken, a selection of Australia’s top astronomers, government officials, and media representatives. The party visited the ASKAP and MWA telescopes located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, as well as support buildings and infrastructure.
“This amazing world class observatory with its two precursor radio telescopes demonstrates that Australia is ready and able to host this exciting telescope project,” Mrs Andrews said.
The visit coincided with the Australian Government indicating recent meetings in Brussels had cleared the way for treaty talks to lay down the terms of the project.
“Treaty negotiations reflect a new chapter of engagement within the global project because they will solidify the rights and responsibilities of SKA member nations, paving the way for construction to begin in 2018,” Mrs. Andrews said.
14 July 2015
CSIRO has sold advanced phased array feed (PAF) receiver technology developed for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) to the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. The institute operates a major observatory in Germany.
This novel technology increases a radio telescope’s field of view. With the technology, ASKAP is one the world's most advanced survey radio telescope.
Antony Schinckel, the project director of ASKAP said CSIRO has had a great deal of interest in using the phased array feed on other telescopes. For the ASKAP telescope, Antony and his team won the Manufacturing, Construction and Infrastructure category prize, as well as the overall prize in The Australian Innovation Challenge awards last year. More at The Australian.
The world-class telescopes at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in WA's Mid West are producing outstanding scientific results. These successes are paving the way for Western Australia to co-host the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.
Premier and Science Minister Colin Barnett said the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope had collected six petabytes of data (enough to fill more than one million DVDs) since starting operations in July 2013.
"This makes it one of the first astronomy facilities to enter the era of big data," Mr Barnett said. More.
The Australian SKA Office and Australian radio astronomy community have celebrated NAIDOC week. NAIDOC week is a celebration of the history, culture, and achievements of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Australia's SKA community has a productive partnership with the Wajarri Yamatji people. The Wajarri Yamatji are the traditional custodians of the land on which the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, the Australian SKA Pathfinder, and Murchison Widefield Array telescopes are situated.
On Tuesday 7 July, Secretary of the Department of Industry and Science Glenys Beauchamp launched the latest collaborative exhibition as part of NAIDOC week celebrations. The exhibition is entitled 'Balagardi Barnagardi', or, ‘Across to the other land’. This and previous exhibitions bring together Wajarri artists and SKA astronomers to create art at the junction of science and Indigenous culture.
Read more about the Balagardi Barnagardi exhibition (7-9 July in Canberra) here. You can also read Steven Tingay’s article on the Ilgarijiri exhibitions here.
6 July 2015
CSIRO astronomers today announced the detection of signals from a distant ancient galaxy. The signals provide insight into galactic development and demonstrate the capability of Australia's ASKAP telescope.
Using just six of ASKAP's 36 dishes, astronomers were able to clearly observe distant galaxy PKS B12740-517. The observation ably demonstrates one of ASKAP's roles of detecting and cataloguing distant and as-yet unobserved astronomical objects.
2 July 2015
After many years in the Australian SKA community, Michelle Storey has hung up her lanyard and entered a well-deserved retirement.
Michelle's contributions as Executive Officer within CSIRO have been instrumental to the establishment of the SKA in Australia and the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. Michelle's quiet but outstanding dedication to the SKA project was recognised when she recieved a Public Service Medal from the Governor-General as part of the 2012 Australia Day Honours.
Michelle will be missed, but her contributions to the future of the radio-astronomy community will last for many years to come.